Three women have written to me about their bad experiences at BDSM play parties. The last time I got that sort of off-the-record feedback (via email, not comments) from complete strangers was when I wrote about The Worst Session Ever. I decided that I had a few more thoughts on the issue.
The Awful Truth about molestation is that it only takes a second to happen. This makes it impossible to prevent and difficult to respond to. The element of surprise is a tremendous advantage to the abuser. A common reaction is to do nothing, especially if the violation only lasts a second or two. What do you do? Tell him to stop, when he’s already stopped? Tell him he’s a disgusting pig? By all means, dress him down, but the fact is he’s already done it, and now you have to deal with that. It can’t be undone. This asshole has just earned a permanent memory in the data bank.
I’ll give you an example: once I was in session with a domme friend of mine, let’s call her “Mistress Lisa.” The client was a high maintenance crossdresser (god those guys are a lot of work) who was established in the Studio–he’d been coming in for a long time.
I was going through the lingerie drawers, trying to find something appropriate for him to wear, and I saw what happened reflected in a mirror. Lisa turned her back on him to pick something up off the dresser, and when she did, the client darted forward and touched her between the legs. It only took a second.
Now: what do you do? Do you kick him out and not refund his money (possibly the only thing that might have taught him a lesson)? Management is not going to support that; he’s not being aggressive or crazy. Do you do the next best thing and punch him in the eye? The moment has passed.
We both screamed at him and then Lisa made him give her all the money in his wallet, which was about $160. She could give a shit about the money, but the fact that he paid was at least an acknowledgement that he’d done something wrong. She was still upset about it later. It’s humiliating to be touched without consent like that.
The last time I was molested at a play party was in New York, a few years ago. I don’t remember the asshole’s name, but I’m recognize him in a heartbeat if I saw him again. He was about forty, white guy. He was doing some rope demos–that was the theme of the party. He was very good. He could do shibari, suspensions, things like that.
Well, I asked him if he’d tie me up. I wanted to experience what it felt like (even working at the Studio, I didn’t get many opportunities to experience advanced rope bondage. It is an uncommon skill).
He tied me to a post with some hemp rope and when he was done, I wasn’t going anywhere–he’d made a sort of corset belt over my clothes and fastened me to the post at six different points, including my knees and my ankles and around my forehead. He’d asked if he could blindfold me and I said yes. Normally I’d never agree to be blindfolded around someone I don’t know, but in this case, I didn’t see the harm: I was there with friends, we were in public, heck, we were only a few feet away from a sofa full of people and the bar area, I was wearing all my clothes (and so was he, and everyone else, for that matter), and this was definitely not a sex party. Did I negotiate anything? No. I didn’t think to. Tying people up in various configurations was the extent of what was happening around me that evening.
So, what does the man do, when I’m tied up so tightly I can barely move a millimeter?
Unbuttons my blouse and takes my breasts out of my bra.
It only takes a second. By the time that I realized that he actually had his hand inside my bra, it was already done.
I was completely surprised, as it hadn’t occurred to me that such a thing could happen. I don’t know, maybe I was naive. The public nudity didn’t particularly bother me (thank God I didn’t have the shame of violated modesty on top of the other bad feelings), but I did become very concerned that the he was going to put his mouth on my tits (gross!). And then on the heels of that came the fear that someone was going to put clamps on my nipples, which is a sensation that I absolutely cannot handle.
“Don’t put clamps on me, I’m sensitive!” I said, and now I felt like I’d said the wrong thing. The first words out of my mouth weren’t Button my shirt back up. Does the fact that I hadn’t thrown a fit and complained signal that I was somehow okay with this happening?
“You look really hot,” said the guy, with his hands on my breasts.
And what do you do? I don’t know, but I can tell you what you don’t do: you don’t start a confrontation with a man when you’re tied up or undressed, and I was one and a half out of two.
I said sweetly that I was ready to be let down, and lied and said that I thought I was developing a cramp in my thigh.
He let me down and I put my boobs back in my shirt, buttoned up, and left the room as quickly as possible. Did I complain to his face…? No, I didn’t. So he completely got away with it, without even a reprimand. I didn’t even mention it to my friends until after the party, because they were having fun and I didn’t want to affect the mood. And anyway, what was there to complain about? It wasn’t like he hurt me, or stuck his fingers in me, or refused to let me go when I asked him to (that’s happened to me once before, and it’s as awful and distressing as you can imagine). It was a minor incident.
A minor incident, but here I am, writing about it years later. A minor incident, but I felt angry about it afterward, and I resent that I should have to second-guess myself. I let a stranger tie me up at a fetish party. What did I think was going to happen?
The first time I was molested as a play party was a little more severe–it was a spanking scene and the asshole got his hand into my underwear. I stopped him and confronted him. But, it still happened. He did not apologize. To some of these guys, your just being there means that you consented. To others, I don’t think that issues like consent or getting permission even enters their minds: it’s irrelevant, a non-issue. The only thing that matters to them is what they want. And they are opportunistic. It’s impossible to distinguish them from non-predators/non-molesters on casual acquaintance.
I have one more story about this. Maybe I’ll tell it next time.